Go­ing back to study re­quires a lit­tle prepa­ra­tion, Lauren Ahwan re­ports

The Courier-Mail - Career One - - LEARNING -

MA­TURE-aged stu­dents re­turn­ing to study next year are urged to take ad­van­tage of free cour­ses de­signed to max­imise the chance of aca­demic suc­cess.

Univer­sity of Sun­shine Coast Pro Vice-Chan­cel­lor (Stu­dents) Pro­fes­sor Karen Nel­son says cour­ses in aca­demic writ­ing, maths, study skills and a va­ri­ety of other top­ics will be offered at uni­ver­si­ties across Aus­tralia from next month to pre­pare those about to start uni for the first time.

While the cour­ses are avail­able to all prospec­tive univer­sity stu­dents, Nel­son says they are es­sen­tial for ma­ture-aged stu­dents, who of­ten hold un­war­ranted fears about stand­ing out among school leavers.

“That ner­vous­ness is of­ten ex­ac­er­bated by the fact they have of­ten had to give up some­thing to come back (to study), like paid em­ploy­ment, or they worry about how they will keep up,’’ she says. “The key thing for peo­ple to re­mem­ber is you have qual­i­fied for a place in the univer­sity – the univer­sity has made an of­fer to you based on your qual­i­fi­ca­tions and your life ex­pe­ri­ence. But if you are feel­ing a bit anx­ious, and want to brush up on some of those skills (needed at univer­sity) then there are cour­ses avail­able.’’

Nel­son also rec­om­mends those set to start univer­sity next year ask to be as­signed a stu­dent men­tor.

She says if stu­dents iden­tify them­selves as a ma­ture-aged stu­dent, and pro­vide their course de­tails, uni­ver­si­ties will try to pair them with a men­tor from a sim­i­lar back­ground.

TAFE stu­dent ex­pe­ri­ence di­rec­tor Jac­qui Clarke says many in­sti­tutes have on­line re­sources to help ma­tureaged stu­dents nav­i­gate their re­turn.

She en­cour­ages prospec­tive stu­dents to at­tend cam­pus ori­en­ta­tion and en­rol­ment events, where they can learn how to ac­cess their stu­dent email and link it to their per­sonal email ac­count, as well as how to ac­cess on­line course com­po­nents and check their aca­demic re­sults.

Al­li­son Camille re­cently com­plet- ed a Bach­e­lor of Pri­mary Ed­u­ca­tion with a per­fect grade point av­er­age of 7 but ad­mits re­turn­ing to univer­sity had been daunt­ing.

“I was very con­cerned I was past my use-by date, that I was too old and it would be a real strug­gle,” says the mother-of-two, who teaches Year 3 at Bud­dina State School.

“But be­ing ma­ture and hav­ing a fam­ily and life ex­pe­ri­ence did not hin­der my abil­ity to suc­ceed.

“I suc­ceeded be­cause of it.’’

WELL SCHOOLED: Al­li­son Camille, with stu­dents Zeb Berd­ing, Alenna Thomas and Ella Sims. Pic­ture: PA­TRICK WOODS

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